R.I.P. Troy Waters: Three-Time World Title Challenger

Troy Waters, one of Australia’s most popular fighters, died on Thursday at age fifty-three in Sydney after a long battle with leukemia. A former Australian and Commonwealth (British Empire) super welterweight champion, Waters was active from 1984 to 1998, compiling a record of 28-5 with 20 KOs.

Waters was raised on a remote farm on the Central Coast of New South Wales where the family settled after migrating from London. He and his two fighting brothers were bullied into boxing by their abusive and boxing-obsessed father. Troy was the youngest, smallest, and most talented of the trio.

Waters first loss came in his sixth pro fight when he lost a 12-round split decision to future 168-pound world titlist In-Chul Baek who was 35-1 going in. The fight was held in Baek’s hometown of Gangneug City, South Korea.

Waters went on to challenge title-holders Gianfranco Rosi, Simon Brown, and Terry Norris for versions of the world title at 154 pounds, coming up short each time. His only other setback came at the hands of Felix Trinidad who stopped him in the opening round at Madison Square Garden in what would be Waters’ next-to-last fight.

Waters extended Rosi and Brown the distance, losing by majority decision to Brown on the inaugural boxing card at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The fight got lost in the shuffle with Brown-Waters playing third fiddle to Felix Trinidad vs. Hector Camacho and Julio Cesar Chavez vs. Frankie Randall. The show would be remembered primarily for Randall’s upset of 89-0-1 Chavez.

Waters fight with Terry Norris was in San Diego where Norris then resided. Waters corner stopped the fight at the conclusion of the third round because of bad cuts over both of his eyes, but the fight was a doozy for as long as it lasted. On the deck in the first round, Waters returned the favor in the round 2. This round was voted the Round of the Year by The Ring magazine.

In 2009, Waters was inducted into Australia’s Boxing Hall of Fame alongside legendary Les Darcy. News of his death inspired a host of tributes on social media. “One of the best Aussie fighters to never win a world title, he was a real professional and a real class guy. Prayers to his family,” tweeted Lou DiBella.

The Sweet Science sends their condolences to Troy Waters widow Michelle and their two children.

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